Reservations now accepted at “Fannie’s Kitchen”

Reservations now accepted at “Fannie’s Kitchen”
By mattc

Fannie Jin, who has volunteered over 10,000 hours in the Greenwood Senior Center kitchen, stands in front of the sign dedicating the kitchen to her. Photo: Ariel Burnett

By LeAnne Chow, PNA Volunteer Program Manager

Ten thousand hours is a significant amount of time. The average adult will take three and a half years to sleep that many hours (a new parent takes longer). The average public school kindergarten student in Washington State will have completed eighth grade. And volunteer cook and Chinese-cuisine specialist, Fannie Jin, who is far above “average” by any measure, made thousands of delicious meals for Greenwood Senior Center guests.

Over the past 16 years, Fannie has spent more than ten thousand hours shopping, chopping, and sometimes mopping to make the Greenwood Senior Center (GSC) lunch program a success! She has planned the menu, kept track of the best deals, and logged many miles heading south to the International District and north to discount warehouse stores to get ingredients for her homemade Chinese-style BBQ pork, chicken chow mein, sweet sour spareribs, egg foo young, shrimp fried rice, and almond float (just to name a few of her dishes). She has plated and served the meals and cleared and washed dishes. Fannie also makes amazing fried chicken, roasts whole turkeys for special occasions, and makes a delicious blueberry cream cheese dessert.

“Fannie is one of the most delightful and energetic volunteers in the GSC Kitchen. It is a joy to work with her, and to learn from her daily,” says GSC Community Dining Chef Jane Sexton. Even with decades of restaurant experience under her own belt, Jane continually learns from Fannie, including the tip that the addition of baking soda will help keep parboiled vegetables green.

Fannie opens a gift from Chef Jane of her favorite dessert, "unfortunate" cookies (fortune cookies without a fortune).

Fannie opens a gift from Chef Jane of her favorite dessert—”unfortunate” cookies (fortune cookies without a fortune). Volunteer Program Manager LeAnne Chow gives Fannie a copy of this article, which she read to the dining room. Photo: Ariel Burnett

April Lubin, one of Fannie’s co-volunteers, loves working with Fannie. “She’s 93 years old, and runs circles around me. She’s taught me so much, and I make really good fried rice now!”

Fannie also served as part of the GSC Social Committee for many years, helping to plan elaborate themed luncheons each month, complete with decorations, door prizes, entertainment, and multi-course meals serving up to 100 diners per meal. In her first five years at the GSC, Fannie would pull a double shift! After making lunch, she cooked the monthly Spaghetti Dinner for dozens of diners of all ages!

And as recently as 2019 (the last time this event was held), she helped make scrambled eggs, fruit salad, sausages, and pancakes for a few hundred diners at the GSC’s annual Car Show Pancake Breakfast.

Fannie with three roasted Thanksgiving turkeys prepared in Fannie's Kitchen at the Greenwood Senior Center.

Fannie with three roasted turkeys that she prepared in Fannie’s Kitchen for the popular Greenwood Senior Center Thanksgiving Meal.

Senior Programs Director Cecily Kaplan started a few months after Fannie, and easily shared her appreciation, “I have had the honor to work with Fannie for the last 16 years, and she never fails to amaze me with her commitment and her incredible cooking.”

To commemorate Fannie’s 10,194.25 hours (at original publication, and still counting!) of volunteer service in the GSC Kitchen, Chef Jane suggested renaming the space: Fannie’s Kitchen. A PNA Community Woodshop volunteer generously made the new sign, and a surprise presentation was made in early May in front of some of her former volunteer colleagues. On the menu was Fannie’s favorite kind of food—her own Chinese cooking.

Thank you, Fannie, for serving and delighting our community, a meal at a time. We look forward to your next ten thousand hours!